`Prepare him room'
JUDEA must have been a busy place in the days just before Jesus was born. Caesar Augustus had ordered a census of his empire, and that meant thousands were returning to their birthplaces to be counted, or ``taxed.'' Joseph and Mary, probably along with many others, were unable to find lodgings in Joseph's home city of Bethlehem. The Bible says only, ``There was no room for them in the inn.''1 But they did find room -- away from the tumult -- in the simplicity and peace of a stable where they could quietly prepare for this sacred birth. A familiar Christmas carol asks us today to find room, to make room within, for the ``King.'' ``Let every heart prepare him room,''2 it says.
The ``him'' we are to prepare room for is more than the personal Jesus; it is the Christ-spirit he bore witness to throughout his life. We know it as the love Jesus unfailingly expressed toward all -- toward multitudes as well as individuals, toward hateful critics and disloyal disciples as much as toward those desperate for healing. This love is evident in the integrity of his life and in the pure goodness of his deeds. His unshakable reliance on God, his conviction of God's sovereignty, and his certainty that God is always with us -- all show forth the Christ. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, says, ``This Christ, or divinity of the man Jesus, was his divine nature, the godliness which animated him.''3
The Christ was inseparable from Jesus. No one before or since has been so demonstrably at one with God. But the Christ is also as timeless and ever available as the God whom Jesus loved so completely. We are not removed from Christ, regardless of how far we may feel from it. And we can take heart that, just as the wise men were led by a lone star to the newborn Jesus, we too will be guided to discover Christ for ourselves.
This is not some ideal hope. Like the fulfillment of the Messianic prophecy, our genuine desire for Christliness is destined for realization. Science and Health by Mrs. Eddy states: ``Throughout all generations both before and after the Christian era, the Christ, as the spiritual idea, -- the reflection of God, -- has come with some measure of power and grace to all prepared to receive Christ, Truth.''4 The question then is, How are we prepared to receive Christ, Truth?
John the Baptist readied the people of Judea for the message Jesus came to proclaim. He told them, ``Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight''5 If we would have Christliness more evident in our lives, we also must ``make his paths straight'' -- open our hearts with such honesty and sincerity that the Christ is unhindered in coming to us. Science and Health states: ``The good in human affections must have ascendency over the evil and the spiritual over the animal, or happiness will never be won....Every valley of sin must be exalted, and every mountain of selfishness be brought low, that the highway of our God may be prepared in Science.''6
As we turn Godward and make even modest efforts to bring our living in line with the way of life demonstrated by Jesus, we are in the business of preparing him room. If we continue on this course, we will begin to discover something truly wonderful -- that the Christ is with us already, is within us, is even that which is causing us to desire holiness and to work to bring it out in our lives. Christ is showing us that we belong to God, that He is the Love that loves us all, that we are actually God's likeness, His perfect, completely spiritual image.
This Christmas season, this hour, needs our willingness to prove our spiritual sonship, undeterred by overcrowded inns of worldliness or dark nights of spiritual ignorance. The Christ is in consciousness now. ``Let every heart prepare him room.''
1Luke 2:7. 2Christian Science Hymnal, No. 164. 3Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 26. 4Ibid., p. 333. 5Mark 1:3. 6Science and Health, p. 61.
You can find more articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: We have the mind of Christ. I Corinthians 2:16